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H5O initiative scoops national award

image depicting James Pearce, Andy Woolston and Ken Nicholl with the award
James Pearce, Andy Woolston and Ken Nicholl with the award
South West Water's delivery alliance, H5O, won at the 2016 Water Industry Achievement Awards.

The company's Sight Specific training programme won in the Health and Safety category, at the national awards ceremony.

The training was developed to educate managers, supervisors and site staff involved in street works, about the challenges facing people who are blind and visually impaired during road work operations.

Over 100 staff participated in the Sight Specific training organised by Andy Woolston, Operations Manager in South West Water's Delivery Alliance H5O, in partnership with the WESC Foundation - The Specialist Centre for Visual Impairment, based in Exeter.

Andy said: "I felt we needed to do something with our street works site teams, so I approached WESC to ask if they would like to get involved and they were really keen to raise awareness. There are so many things I learned from them that you wouldn't even consider - simple stuff like telling someone with a visual impairment whether steps go up or down.

"The main benefit is making it easier for everyone who is blind or visually impaired to negotiate our sites and educating our people to take into consideration the needs of people who are visually impaired or blind while setting up sites."

The programme has proven a great success, with the likes of Balfour Beatty and Thames Water choosing to implement it across various projects throughout the country.

Richard Ellis, Head of Visual Impairment (VI) Services at the WESC Foundation - a Specialist Centre for VI which helped to develop the training, said: "We are really pleased the training has been so well received.

"Generally people are very prepared to do what they can to support visually impaired people, if they know what practical things they can do. This training provides practical experiences which raise awareness of the difficulties experienced by blind and visually impaired pedestrians."

South West Water's apprenticeship programme was also shortlisted in the People's Initiative category at the Awards.

For further information please contact: 01392 443020 or email pressoffice@southwestwater.co.uk

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